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Messias penalty holds Gudja to second-straight draw

Gudja United's Matias Muchardi escapes a tackle against Marsaxlokk. Photo: Domenic Borg

GUDJA UNITED 1

Toure 14

MARSAXLOKK 1

Messias 45 pen.

GUDJA UNITED

Y. Sozer-6, Brenner-7, M. Muchardi-6, J. Arthur-6, G. Mensah-6 (64 G. Lorenzoni), C. Borg-6 (76 S. Cipiriott), R. Mango-5, K. Micallef-6, Z. Grech-6 (86 M. Cassini) A. Toure-6 (86 S. Attard), M. Esposito-6.5.

MARSAXLOKK

M. Drobnjak-6, Weder-7, D. Zerafa-6 (82 S. Boakye), N. Muscat-6.5, Y. Messias-6, J. Walker-6, A. Valkainah-6, L. Aguirre-5 (76 D. Bonnici), D. Pires-5, J. Gomes-5, A. Obonogwu-6 (66 S. Akinbule).

Referee Trustin Farrugia Cann.

Yellow cards Esposito, Brenner, Grech,

BOV player of the match Brenner (Gudja United).

Gudja United and Marsaxlokk cancelled each other out for a 1-1 finish in a scrappy encounter at the Tony Bezzina stadium on Sunday.

Jesmond Zammit’s troops created little in the first half but Abou Toure gave Gudja an early lead with a devastating counter-attack. However, just before half-time, Yuri Messias equalised from the penalty spot. this was to be all as in the second half, both sides struggled to provide moments of quality in a scrappy start-of-season match.

Out of nothing, Gudja took the lead on 14 minutes. Mirko Esposito sliced open the Marsaxlokk rearguard with a through ball, and the ball fell for Abou Toure who outsmarted the onrushing Marko Drobnjak to open the scoring.

The Gudja poacher was found in space again a few minutes later, but Drobnjak was on hand to deny the Senegalese attacker another strike on goal.

Marsaxlokk did not let their heads drop – but for all their industry, Gudja still looked the more dangerous side.

Just before half-time, Yuri Messias eased Marsaxlokk’s mounting anxiety when Ricardo Mango conceded a 44th-minute penalty with an outstretched arm that blocked Anthony Obonogwu’s header. From the ensuing spot kick, he sent Yaren Sozer the wrong way.

After the break, Gudja seemed happy to try and contain Marsaxlokk, while maintaining their own threat on the break.

Marsaxlokk should have taken the lead when only a combination of Conor Borg and Brenner kept Messias out after the Brazilian’s strong run down the left. The Southseasiders enjoyed the majority of possession but failed to break down a resilient defence that was brilliantly marshalled by Brenner.

Yet, Winston Muscat’s men were relying too much on hopeful shots from the distance. On 70 minutes, a long-range drive from Nikolai Muscat finished just wide.

Marsaxlokk finally stepped up the game and Messias hit a low drive on the side-netting two minutes from time. But that was a little consolation for Winston Muscat’s side who failed to keep up with early pace-setters Floriana, Hamrun, and Hibernians.

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